The following is a guest post.
Get Your eCommerce Business Off the Ground
Starting an eCommerce business has it’s pitfalls as with any other business, but it does offer entrepreneurs a way to launch a business idea from home. The main advantage of selling through the internet is that you can reach so many more potential customers than through a physical store, however it has its disadvantages too. You have to compete with thousands of other online stores selling the same or similar to what you are selling, unless of course you have a completely unique product or service.
Whatever you are selling, do some through research into your target customers and learn to think like them, until you know what they want. Then you are in the position where you can give them exactly what they require.
Provide What You Would Expect
If you look at your eCommerce site and are not 100% confident that you would buy from it, then you need to keep working on it until you are. Consumer confidence is paramount for eCommerce businesses, so you don’t make things complicated or unclear. Try to be as transparent as possible in all aspects on your business, so there are no hidden surprises for your customers. Be up front about additional charges for postage and packaging, and don’t make customers go through too many pages to complete their transaction. You also need to show customers a no-nonsense returns policy, and provide a phone number where they can talk to you or an employee if they have any questions. If you lack any of these things, or customers just can’t find the information they need quickly enough, your eCommerce business is sure to struggle.
Offer the Latest Payment Options
Don’t lose customers because you’re not providing them with their preferred means of payment. You need to allow people to pay in whichever way they prefer, be that by cheque, bank transfer, direct debit, credit card, or any other way that becomes available. PayPal is an established payment service which has a firm standing among existing eCommerce businesses, but there are always new ways to pay being developed. Google recently launched its Google Wallet, which allows user to transfer money from their bank account to pay for items online. Another new payment service is PayNearMe, which allows users to pay for thing online using cash. This system requires people to enter code from a PayNearMe card or download and barcode to a smartphone when making a purchase online, and then take that card or barcode into a 7Eleven store where it is scanned and the payment is made with cash.
The All-Important Cash Flow
The initial stages of launching any business, whether it is an eCommerce business or not, are expensive and will drain your finances, so it is important to prepare yourself for a slow start. Don’t assume you will hit your projected revenue and always plan for the worst. Sometimes it takes pumping more of your own money into a business before it becomes profitable, so it’s worth considering taking out a start-up loan before you launch to cover any shortcomings in revenue. Perhaps a better option for short-term financing is applying for business credit cards that offer a good rate of interest. You then have access to capital when you need it, rather than borrowing up front. There is another option for businesses that require cash quickly, which come in the form of a payday loan. These loans can be a life-saver in some circumstances, but they do charge a high rate of interest, and careful consideration must be made before taking one out.
When everything is ready to go, your website is running, and all you have to do is wait for the orders to roll in, don’t think the hard work is over. Now you must market your eCommerce business, and market it hard. You need to drive traffic to your website, and one way of doing this fast is by using Google AdWords. It’s not quite as simple as you may think, and sometimes it’s better to let an external marketing company take care of it for you, but if you want to stay in control take a look at these tips for a successful eCommerce AdWords campaign.
Other cheaper ways to market your ecommerce business include writing press releases to publish online, creating compelling newsletters to send out to existing customers, and posting advertisements at online classified websites. The more awareness of your business you create, the faster it will grow, so don’t hold back!
Labels: Career, eCommerce Business, Starting Your Own Business